Smile at God Today!

woman-smiling-and-looking-up

This past week I was seeking the Lord for what we intercessors need in Him right now and every day.  I was directed by Holy Spirit to Proverbs 17:22  A merry heart does good,  like medicine, but a broken spirit dries the bones. NKJV

 A cheerful disposition is good for your health; gloom and doom leave you bone-tired. MSG

 A joyful, cheerful heart brings healing to both body and soul. But the one whose heart is crushed struggles with sickness and depression. TPT

It seems like doom and gloom, sickness and depression, and folks with broken dreams/hearts is all we hear about on the news and social media. Our hope and hiding place from all that is in the Lord, yet it’s getting harder and harder to let go of all that negativity and pain and simply “be” in His presence. Distractions are becoming all-consuming as there is so much unrest, illness, and stressful situations going on in our nation and the world. And, I don’t know about you, but the need, even demand, for intercession and prayer for friends and family dealing with sudden emergencies, unexpected deaths, and major challenges of all kinds is on the increase. Plus, lately there is an almost constant need to deal with issues, some very serious, in my own household. Likely it’s the same for yours.

As I meditated on this scripture and also Proverbs 15: 13 and 15, I knew Holy Spirit was telling me it’s important, even vital, that we not be overwhelmed by life circumstances. And, to remember that it is still okay to relax, unwind and laugh, not only during prayer and worship, but also in the natural daily course of our life. We intercessors and praying Christians are a serious bunch. We take on burdens for many, many people including the our neighborhoods, cities, states and nations. Thus, we have responsibility to heed God’s advice to not become overburdened and drained. To implement His word that “a merry heart makes good medicine” and that it is healing for our bones and well-being.

So, here is my prayer and directive from the Lord for all of us: I pray we all get out in the sunshine as much as possible, after all it is SUMMER. And, join me in this challenge: Give Father God a big smile every day. He always smiles back and in His smile is love, life, abundance, favor, grace and blessings of all kinds. His joy and the gladness of heart it brings is the refreshing we most need to thrive even in the midst all that is going on around us!

The crux is: Neglecting R and R is the worst thing a busy in demand intercessor/minister of God can do. It will drain the very life out of us. But, resting in the Lord, plus daily fun, smiling, laughing, and seeking Him in and for gladness makes us more powerful intercessors/ministers!
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Receiving the gift of entering God’s rest and choosing joy is vital in this day and hour. Our families, friends, and ministry, even our nation and the world, need us to make this a priority.  We will find that the trials and challenges of life won’t be such a heavy burden. The sense of doom and gloom in the world will disappear; concern yes, doom no! When we minister and pray from a place of rest and joy there is strength and authority in the Spirit that flows through us that we did not know was possible. In fact, I believe getting this “rest and joy thing” is a big key to supernatural intercession where we pray and God answers right away. Wow! That is a goal to shoot for!!!

 

May your summer (and whole life) be filled with gladness, fun and relaxation!

Remember: Give God a Big Smile Every Day!

With Love and JOY in our Lord,

Rev. Cheryl

Copyrighted 2020 Cheryl S Birch – May be shared in whole with copyright and end notes intact.

Photo found on Google labeled for reuse

 

Tipping Point

Tipping Point

Greetings today from my backyard. The weather has been lovely here in Modesto so our table with the sun umbrella has become my getaway retreat. Other than an intrusion by my kitty wanting to sit on the keyboard, it’s quite peaceful in the mornings in my garden setting. It’s wonderful to have natural realms quiet in a sunny green place. As I reflected on that, I had the thought that it’s even more wonderful to have peace in a SONshine setting! During this roller-coaster transition time to reopening our states and nation my prayer for all of you is that you find a SHALOM retreat in the restorative light and wonderful presence of our Lord!

As I prayed this day in the warm sunshine, the Lord highlighted to me for all of us in the Body of Christ Romans 8:31 If God is for us, who can be against us?

With everything going on in our nation and the world, it has come to my attention that many intercessors/praying Christians are overwhelmed with requests for prayer from their family, friends, co-workers neighbors and even strangers. Combined with an assault by the enemy against our own families and work situations, stress and a sense of being pummeled by the enemy can sneak up on us. This is especially so when our personal challenges increase in intensity, or become chronic in persistence with no apparent answers from God to ease the storm we are experiencing. And, on top of it all, we usually have ministry commitments that require more prayer, not less.

Thoughts or feelings of abandonment can cloud our life as we wonder if we are being effective or if our Father in heaven has heard our prayers. Have you ever asked Him if He’s there? Wondered if Jesus is interceding for everyone but you and yours? Asked Holy Spirit if He was ever going to move on your behalf? I have, and I figure I’m not the only one!

In the middle of seemingly insurmountable personal challenge I am facing right now, those questions flowed out of me with tears. Then I picked up a book I just started called “IF” by Pastor Mark Batterson. Chapter 2 starts with Romans 8:31. About the verse he writes:

God is for you.

God is for you in every way imaginable.

God is for you for all eternity.

And a bit later he says: Spiritually speaking, the tipping point (in a person’s life or situation) is when you believe, without any reservation that God is for you. It’s the revelation that God doesn’t just love you, He likes you. He loves you enough to die for you, He likes you enough to spend eternity with you.

I believe many of us are at a tipping point time in our lives. A time of critical mass, on the threshold of huge change, and it’s about to boil over, or tip like a balanced rock when the earth shakes. The question for us overwhelmed intercessors/believers is will we tip for God and the new thing He has for us, believing He is for us? Or, will we tip toward giving up on His promises and against His new thing? This is reality right now for many, maybe all of us, as what our God is doing is very different. It can make us hesitant and afraid to venture His direction. This season has brought us to a place of deciding whether we are “all in” knowing He is good all the time, or rejecting His high call. Rejecting results in mediocrity, walking with Him constantly struggling in the land of fear and doubt.

The tipping point choice WILL change our lives forever. It’s scary, but it’s GOOD, because God is good and He is for us every step of the way! He, in His love for us, has brought us to this place of choice. Now, we must believe He is for us and bravely choose His new plan. The result? More powerful connection with God, more power packed prayers, and more of MORE! Not only that, there’s more on top of the more, because the verse also says that if He is for us no one can be against us! He will scatter the enemy!

In this season, May the King of kings surround you with His army of angels as you crossover the point of no return and head full speed into the GOOD THINGS our God has for you, in Jesus Name and for His glory alone…AMEN!

Praying health and wholeness for all of us!

With Love and JOY in our Lord,

Cheryl

copyright 2020 Cheryl S Birch
May be share with copyright and end notes intact
Photo found on Google labeled for reuse

Repentance Factor

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Day after day for a week now I keep hearing two words when I seek the Lord:

REPENTANCE FACTOR.

It all started when an intercessor prayed regarding COVID 19 and launched their prayer using 2 Chronicles 7:14 if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land. Now, they prayed a beautiful and heartfelt prayer with which I agreed. And, I really love God’s word. Truly I love Him and love all He has to say, but I realized during the prayer (wonderful as it was) that I am worn out by the quoting of this verse. It caused such upset within me that I had to seek out Holy Spirit to explain to me what was wrong with me.

That was when I heard Repentance Factor for the first time. The “thing” that was bothering me was not this important verse in the Bible nor the strong prayer prayed by my fellow intercessor. It was revelation of my own heart condition, revelation of the lack of repentance in our nation, and in the church most especially. Yes, the church! Without the Body of Christ’s lead in repenting for our sins and for the sins of our citizens, how would the nation ever know it was important to do so? Without the all important “IF” being fulfilled by God’s people, we can pray 2 Chronicles 7:14 until Jesus comes for us and our land will not be healed.

It says if MY PEOPLE will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways…MY PEOPLE. Who are God’s people? At the time it was given to Solomon, the Jews were God’s people and the temple was being dedicated. Today the Jews are still God’s people and, Praise Him, so are those who have the Lord Jesus Christ as Savior. In fact, those of us that have Jesus as our Savior are now the dedicated temple of God! In Solomon’s day the stone building was filled with the glory of God. Now, the Redeemed of the Lord are filled with the glory of God via Holy Spirit. Since we are God’s People and His Temple we need to seriously and profoundly take ownership of this verse of scripture and do what it says.

By and large during this crisis or any crisis we, the church, have the prayer part down pat. In fact,there is more prayer right now in the world than ever I have seen! Social media, Zoom, Skype, conference calls are a buzz with prayer and intercession. Praise God! We easily caught the part of the scripture that says to pray. Myriads of people are asking God for protection, healing and provision. No doubt the Father will be pouring out answers to these personal prayers going up to the throne of grace by the thousands. Nonetheless, this scripture is not being fulfilled. We are still lacking greatly in the Repentance Factor that will trigger healing for our land; the part of the scripture that says: HUMBLE THEMSELVES, TURN FROM THEIR WICKED WAYS and also SEEK MY FACE.

Tackling “seek My face” first. Seems simple. Even Easy. But seeking His Face is far more than a prayer for protection, healing, and provision. God hears those prayers from everyone and in His mercy, he answers. But, He moves quickly and precisely for those who have a close relationship with Him. Why? Because the closer one becomes to God, talking and walking with Him daily, minute by minute, the more likely it is that we will pray prayers that are initiated by HIM and are flowing from HIS heart through ours as His vessel. When we move from personal survival requests and pray those kind of “seek his face” prayers, they get answered.

A Pastor’s devotional that I just finished called them “dangerous prayers.” They are the kind way beyond “protect me and my family.” Seek His Face Prayers always include “use me”,”change me”, “Help me to do YOUR will for me, Lord.” Dangerous intercessors ask God why things aren’t changing, stop and listen for His response AND implement or do what He says. Even if it means their lives are turned upside-down, God’s face seeking people allow Him to transform them into a reflection of Him in the earth, including their prayer priorities… and their whole lives.

That leads me back to the Repentance Factor. To be used by God, changed by God, and to gain ability to speak and do His will not our own, REPENTANCE is the only way. To see our land miraculously healed, REPENTANCE is the only way. We must let Holy Spirit reveal to us the depths of our own wicked ways. Let me phrase it another way for those of you that are bothered by the words wicked and sin in relation to a born again Believer. Think of it this way: God has an opinion clearly stated in His word and at salvation His opinion was written on our hearts. Even so, we have our own opinions formed from birth and opinions we have adopted from our culture. Those opinions do not always line up with God’s Word, do they? Every one of our opinions that do not line up with God’s Word is a “wicked way.” He wants all of our opinions to line up with His opinion!

Shocking isn’t it? Reflecting on where our heart leads us and what thoughts we have compared to the Bible (God’s opinion) can be hard to handle. Thank God Romans 8:1 starts out by saying: “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are IN Christ Jesus.” (emphasis mine) If you desire to be a useful effective vessel that God can really use, simply repent. Ask Him to reveal every contrary opinion that you have and go to Him often! That is living “IN Christ Jesus!” When your opinion differs from His, repent. And ask Him to change your opinion to match His. No condemnation! Every second of every day is a second chance! He is overjoyed when we grab onto the truth that we need to continuously seek His face while turning from our opinions (wicked ways). Grab this truth and healing of your personal land will flow. If we grab it corporately, healing of our nation will flow!

We will also receive the promise of less quoted yet far more wonderful verses
2 Chronicles 7:15-16 Now My eyes will be open and My ears attentive to prayer made in this place. For now I have chosen and sanctified this house, that My name may be there forever; and My eyes and My heart will be there perpetually.

Please join me in prayer regarding a paradigm shift within the greater church, especially leadership, that will open an all important door to healing our land: the Repentance Factor.

My prayer is that the walls of separation between denominations and styles of worshiping our God would fall. That our prejudices toward one another in the body of Christ would be washed away in a flood of repentant opinion changing. And, that our leaders would stop for a moment in their own efforts and hear God’s voice of unity and love He has for us all. As a result that they would stand together (via all the electronic avenues we have available) in the midst of this crisis, ask forgiveness from God and each other, and then move into repentance for our collective sin of having a different opinion than God. Especially to repent for continuously trying to build the kingdom of God in their own strength while ignoring Jesus’ commandment to “Love one another as He has loved us.”

Start with me, Lord. Start with those who read this message. Holy Spirit help us to step into the Repentance Factor needed to heal our land, in Jesus Amazing Name I pray…AMEN!

With much hope in our Lord,
Rev Cheryl

Article may be share in whole with end notes include
Copyrighted 2020 Cheryl S Birch

Photo found on Google
All Bible verses are from the New King James Version

To be Content

Content Kitty

In my “wonderings” with the Lord praying and asking Him what His purposes are during this difficult time in our nation and around the world, a specific scripture keeps popping into my head from Philippians 4:11-13: Not that I speak in regard to need, for I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content: I know how to be abased, and I know how to abound. Everywhere and in all things I have learned both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.

While navigating this time of isolation, fear, panic, and global pandemic, I found it exceedingly helpful and comforting to know that the Lord is using all this to do a work in my heart and the hearts of His kids. He is intensely and precisely helping us separate out our dependence on other things and people so that we depend fully and completely on Him. In the USA there has been much we thought we could always rely upon. In the matter of a few days the Lord gave us a grand revelation: WE REALLY CAN’T RELY ON ANYTHING BUT HIM! All things in this earth are subject to change, even our ability to gather together to worship Him. Only His Kingdom is rock solid and it is not dependent upon a church building. It is Him and Him alone.

As our lives are turned upside down, we are being given a marvelous learning experience in how to be content in Christ whether we are abased or abounding, as well as, how to worship Him whether we can be face to face with each other or not.

Being so dependent on Him, unconcerned and trusting as are our sleeping pets, is the place He would have us dwell. Not that we have attained, but that we are willing to be changed and desiring to live that freely!

Note that Paul said “I have learned to be…” That tells me it is something he did not have at first, but that he had experiences Holy Spirit used to teach him. He leaned into Christ Jesus, trusted His Spirit, and depended on the Father step by step until he could say that he had learned how to be content in everything and that his strength to do so came fully and completely from His Savior. We can be examples of this kind of contentment in Christ to others. What an amazing witness to the fearful ones and pre-believers in our lives as we exhibit trust and not fear!

Thus, this very special opportunity for transformation and reset in our lives is full of heavenly treasures! It will produce in us more ability to understand the heart of God, to hear Him more clearly, and to pray prayers that line up with His will and ways. It is part of the Shalom of God to be whole in our hearts no matter our circumstances and to be hope-bearers to others for the glory of our Lord. Power packed intercession will result!

I don’t know about you, but during this time of isolation I discovered how much I took for granted. And, I also found out about the “crutches” I had created and depended upon that were unknown to me. I had no idea they were taking the place of fully depending upon God. As this revelation unfolded repentance poured out of me and gratefulness to God for every little thing He provided flooded my heart. And He has provided everything we need! Not what I may want, but all needs have been met.

In this season we MUST depend upon and trust Him and Him alone to take care of us and our loved ones; to keep us healthy, safe, and provided for. No longer can we step in and purposely or unknowingly try to birth our own dreams and future. We must seek HIM for everything. He has provided this time for us to discover our true condition and to learn to wait on His answers. As we stand fast and refuse to give in to the enemy’s plans, we will see the grandest most glorious victories!

Truly, He has spoken to me that as we stand fast in contentment, patience, and in the strength of our God, allowing Him access to the recesses of our hearts, and purpose to accept His transfiguring changes, when this time is over we will see an explosive launch of ministry! Amazing ministry, not only for those who are our leaders, but for all of us! A Magnificent Turning is upon us as we pass through this Very Great Test. The fulfillment of our destinies and His glorious presence is our reward!

May the Lord Richly Bless you with renewed purpose, fire, and fervor as you seek Him and step into His plans and purposes!

With JOY and Peace,

Rev. Cheryl

Copyright 2020 Cheryl S Birch
This posting may be shared in whole with signature, copyright and end notes intact

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The Very Great Test

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The last couple of days as I have prayed and pondered the ever increasing life changes we are all facing two thoughts keep surfacing:

  1. This is a very great test.
  2. The Lord is looking for changes of heart and habit.

In the midst of these circumstances of illness and fear,  be assured Holy Spirit is on the move in our lives BIG TIME! His goal is not only to help us but to teach us and change us.

Yes, the virus itself and the fear that is manifesting is certainly the work of the devil. We must stand in faith against it relying upon our God. And, that stand is the basis of the test.

Holy Spirit is dealing with me, perhaps you as well, during this stressful time. Soul searching questions arise out of my heart for myself and for the Body of Christ: Are we standing in faith praying trusting in and relying upon the amazing grace and love of God bought for us by the precious blood of Jesus or self-reliant? Are we panic praying or are we asking for direction and listening to the guidance of Holy Spirit? Are we still selfish beyond belief with an hoarding attitude, ungrateful, complaining, and reacting to these changes with deep seated fear? Or, are we thanking our God for what we do have, asking Him what changes we need to make during this time so that our lives are more pleasing to Him, and listening to Him regarding what we can do so that our neighbor’s needs are met?

You see we get an F on our test for fear response. God still loves us of course, but we will suffer greatly as we choose to do things out of selfish fear versus taking our fear to Him and asking Him to help us and, much more importantly, to help us to help others. 

Did you know that Holy Spirit will tell you who to help? And that He will tell you when to go out to get supplies. He will even tell you where to go to get what you or someone else needs.  He probably won’t direct you to what you want or what you desire to hoard, but He will direct you to the places where you can get what you and your family actually need. How do I know this? Because He is taking such good care of my husband and me. Wherever we feel led to go, what we really need is there! It has been astounding to walk into places with so many empty shelves and find the last package of noodles, the last bottle of anti-bacterial cleaner, the last package of toilette bowl cleaner, the last tube of Aspercreme (needed for sore muscles), the only bottle of tomato sauce, the last can opener (ours broke and we needed one), and tissues, wipes, foods, etc all there when needed. If we desired something and it wasn’t there,  after all His provision, its apparent we really don’t need it yet. When we do, I know I can trust Holy Spirit to guide us to the place where it can be found!

During this time it is vital we as a Body defeat our tendency toward fear and self-reliance. As stated earlier, Holy Spirit is impressing on me the great need for heart changes and habit breaking in all of us. Even the best of us can fail and fear, exhibit selfishness, complain instead of thank, and deal with habitual behaviors/attitudes that are displeasing to our Father in heaven. What better time than during isolation, like this season, to stop depending on other things, on other people, or on ourselves and choose to learn how to lean fully upon our wonderful loving God? What a great time to start praying together as a family or having family Bible study!  Living alone? What a great time to pray, read, and have a retreat with God; just you and Him where you can learn about His plans for your future.  For every one of us, what a perfect time for calling neighbors and friends to see how they are doing, especially those that need Jesus in their lives. Your call could be a salvation call. How exciting!

Remember, He is on the move. He is drawing people to Him. He has HOPE for us all! He has thoughts higher than ours and, as we call upon Him, He will tell us great and mighty things we don’t yet know.  He will even tell us who to call, email, or text.

A final word coming to me today is isolation is not really isolation in the Body of Christ. We are all ONE in Christ Jesus our Lord. We all listen to and are helped by the same Spirit and we all have the same Father in Heaven. He has already, way in advance, provided the perfect vehicles to not feel so alone. Reach out via telephone. Call instead of text and be blessed by the voice of a fellow believer.  Plan a video call, set up a conference call, and be encouraged by your brothers and sisters in Christ Jesus or encourage them. Tune into the streaming on Facebook and other sources featuring churches that are having online services. Watch inspirational messages and praise songs on YouTube and other websites when you feel down.  Praise God for the phone lines, internet, for Wifi and 4g. Isolation lonliness is state of mind and we must purpose to overcome it and help others in the process! With Holy Spirit’s help we will overcome and be victorious in our Lord.

How we go through this challenge is a huge witness to those that are pre-believers. It is indeed a very great test and it is hard to repent and change our ways, but we can pass the test and get an A+ (an awesome achievement heart change award) from our God as He sees the depth of our desire to do things His way no matter our circumstances.

You, we, are all very loved. God has not abandoned us or forsaken us! Instead, He is drawing us closer to Him. Transformation is His goal as we take a stand against this demonic attack and choose to lean fully upon Him as we do.  To all who are willing He is opening the treasures of His heart. Abundance of His presence awaits us!

With love and peace to you and yours,
Rev Cheryl

Copyrighted 2020 Cheryl S Birch
Photo found on Google labeled for reuse
May be shared in whole with name of author, copyright, and end notes intact

Magnificent Turning

Left turn road and tree

I was awake most of the night praying and in personal repentance as well as identification repentance for the sins of our nation. Just couldn’t sleep because of all the activity in the spirit realms. Truly the battle over our nation and the nations of the world has ramped up significantly! (scroll down for the prophetic drawing and word the Lord has given regarding this time we are in). The demonic nature of our current environment is unmistakable.  The voice of the enemy is screaming out fear in order to fuel disease and death. Though God be blamed by many, though some Christians are saying it is God’s judgement raining down upon us, be assured nothing occurring is the doings of a loving God that wishes to draw us closer to Him and to redeem the lives of millions. It is the doings of the evil one trying to saturate our lives with fear in every form and to take out people before they can know the wonders and generous sacrificial free gift of Jesus as their Savior. Because we, the church, are off of God’s path ourselves in so many ways, nations are in jeopardy. It is our own sin that so easily besets us that is giving the enemy permission to continue this vile attack on humankind.

As I pondered all this at 2:30 am, Holy Spirit asked me if I was afraid. Well, the most wonderful thing is I could answer “No.”  After five straight years of intense warfare and circumstances beyond my control, I realized the war and testing had prepared me for this time. No pride in it! Without the training God gave me and learning to rely on Him no matter what, I know the answer would have been “yes” instead. To His glory alone, I am not panicked or hoarding or worried about whether or not there will be toilet paper, hand sanitizer, water or food. In fact, whenever my husband or I go to the store, even in the midst of this craziness, what we need is there. We go out on normal “we are out of supplies” shopping trips. No panic. When we shop it’s amazing. For example, I got the last bottle of antibacterial spray on Target shelves and husband got 6 packets of flushable wipes (no TP, but wipes work) just as Walmart opened up a box. God takes care of His beloveds!!

My prayers in the night weren’t because I was afraid but because so many thousands of people who don’t trust in God are panicked.  They need Jesus. They need an encounter with His love and grace!

This morning when I sat down to pray, I was reminded of something Holy Spirit revealed to me Jan 27th. He called it “The Magnificent Turning.” As best I can draw, I drew a picture of what He revealed to me.

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As He revealed this image, I drew the path to His presence that veers off to the left. Then I drew 6 characters that each represent the heart condition of the Body of Christ. Some are caught up in the world’s view and they are encased by a black cloud of fear and questioning. They are off the path that leads to the joy, peace, and hope found in Christ Jesus. They are stuck on the right hand side which represents the mind of the world and works of the flesh. With head hung low, they are being bombarded with the evil one’s words of hopelessness, fear, and death not hearing God at all.

Four other characters are in various states of heart and mind. They stand to the left which represents reliance on the Spirit and faith in God. Three are questioning their circumstances battling doubt and unbelief, one is battling fear as well. Another is breaking through and can see the goodness and mercy of the Lord. Despite their current battles, they are about to step onto His glorious path of trust and hope. The final character has triumphed! In victory, after intense testing and warfare, they are seeing God high and lifted up and placing their hope fully in Him and Him alone.  They are unafraid because they see and hear God while ignoring the enemy’s voice and tactics.

Before I made the drawing I wrote a message in my journal: The Magnificent Turning is upon us. Simple_Profound_Supernatural turning toward our God as He opens our eyes and hearts to see and know how much we have turned away from Him. 

After pondering what I drew, I wrote on the drawing: The Lord is Dawning in our Hearts in a brand New way! We’ve searched for Him, worked, wondered, partly turned toward Him, but are lost and going the wrong way. In this Dawning there will be a Magnificent Turning. Questions and wondering turned to zeal and passion! We will see Him and His green hills of peace. Though chaos be around us, WE WILL SEE HIM! The path will be clear!

On March 12th He further spoke to me about this season of Magnificent Turning. We, the Body of Christ, will make the magnificent left turn toward HIM and HIM alone! He spoke to me:  Hang on to Me for this ride, dear children. In two weeks time (beginning March 26th) the path will clear, everything will be clearer. Again, I say I will make all things clearer for My beloveds. As My declared New Year approaches and Pesach (Passover Exodus 12:2) begins April 8th you will see Me arise in My power and might. I will make all things new. My promises will pour out in abundance to those who rely on Me and Me alone. All who are mine, I will bless. Hold tight to Me my darling ones and fear not for I am with you always, even to the end of the age!

Let Faith arise in your hearts. (Eph 3:16-18).  Be anxious for nothing but through prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving (not complaining), let your requests be know to God and His peace will mount up guard around your hearts and mind. (Phps 4:6-7) Even though it appears we are walking through the shadow of death, HE IS WITH US! If we will hold on to Him goodness and mercy will follow us all the days of our lives and we shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever! (Psalm 23)

With an abundance of love to all of you,
Rev. Cheryl

This post may be shared in whole with copyright notice and all end notes included.
Copyrighted 2020 Cheryl S Birch

1st photo found on Google labeled for reuse
2nd photo drawn by and the property of Cheryl S Birch

All scripture references are the New King James Version and link to BibleGateway.com

The Central Thing

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It’s been months now that the Lord God has kept sending me back to a message He gave me that He called “The Central Thing.”  Today after prayer and meditating on His word I opened up my journal and flipped to the first page. There it was again: The Central Thing.  Yes, I think it’s time to share it!

When the phrase first came to me I saw along with it a target and bright red bull’s eye with an arrow in the center.  Holy Spirit began to speak to my heart about refocusing. His central message was that we members of the body of Christ can get sidetracked, distracted and even derailed by issues and situations that aren’t the most important in life. Certainly that was exactly where I was. Life had gotten hectic and seemingly out of control. Everyday was a new adventure in unforeseen and unexpected challenges and circumstances. As I pressed in during my devotion time, I remember letting out a big sigh.  What exactly am I supposed to do in the midst of this whirlwind of problems and stress coming out of nowhere? was my primary thought.

Very gently Holy Spirit spoke to me: Cheryl, just concentrate on the Central Thing. The words Central Thing kept echoing in my heart and mind. Questions flooded my stressed mind. Did He mean what was central to my life at this time? Or, was He referring to what is central to life in general? Was there some “thing” I was clueless about? Or, what? All  I got was more frustrated, but the words “Central Thing” kept flooding my mind.

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Letgo Land

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As I was praying a few days ago, I saw a funny thing appear as a flash vision. The Lord often grabs my attention with silly things that have a significant message attached. If you have kids or grand-kids or, if you are a young person, no doubt you are familiar with Legos toys. Maybe like me you have been to a Lego Land. (I was at the mini-Lego Land at Mall of America years ago). So, what I saw in the flash vision was the Lego Land arch and distinctive logo, only it said “Letgo Land.” I was standing in front the red, white, green, black, yellow, and blue arch. In the quick vision I turned and walked into Letgo Land. That was it.

Since that flash vision the Lord has been speaking to me about, guess what? Yup, letting go. The impacting part of His simple instruction to me is that in letting go there is power and freedom. Holy Spirit is leading us to this place of great peace, joy and freedom beyond what we have now. Surrender of this ilk to the Lord produces the most powerful intercession available on earth. So powerful our whole life becomes intercession, just like Jesus. In fact, His primary goal right now (no doubt from the beginning of our walk with Him) is to help us to learn how to surrender everything, absolutely everything, to Him.

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Celebrate!

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A couple of months ago I was asked to do the closing remarks and closing prayer at a rather unique prayer breakfast. This breakfast was an intercession filled supernaturally unified prayer breakfast with no key note speaker and simple adoration worship of our Lord. About 300 folks attended from many walks of life, ethnicity, and cultural background. It was exciting to see the diversity of the body of Christ so well represented in that room. This gathering every year goes beyond several churches in town. Joining in with Pastors and intercessors were our Mayor, City Council reps, Police Chief, Parole Officers, Sheriff, Highway Patrol officers, County officials, business leaders, educators and nonprofit leaders.  The tenor of the breakfast was worshipful and everyone was deeply engaged praying at their tables. No doubt that the Father was hearing our prayers as our city leaders from nearly every sphere possible humbled themselves before Him!

I had been praying for weeks before the breakfast asking Holy Spirit to reveal to me the Father’s heart regarding this gathering.  I longed to hear what He thought would be the best closing words and prayer that would glorify the Lord Jesus and express His message to all. About a week before the breakfast, I had still not heard anything from Him. No scripture, no special inspiration of any kind for this important 7th annual event in our city. So, I pressed in and asked again for His heart on the matter.  Well, the Lord speaks to me in really funny and even silly ways sometimes! This time when I prayed immediately the words to a song from 1980 by Kool and the Gang popped into my head and I started singing to myself “Celebrate good times, come on! It’s a celebration! Woo Hoo!”   (Unfamiliar with this golden oldie? You can Listen on YouTube) (Or read the Song Lyrics)

 

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“Fret-Fest”

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It seems that for intercessors and those who are faithful leaders and witnesses in the body of Christ that the difficulties of life just keep on happening without much of a break. Most are totally out of our control and too many are beyond disappointing, they are downright scary. There are victories too, but the challenges seem so heavy that they appear to far outweigh the good things God is doing in our lives.  Recently, when I was going through yet another round of challenging circumstances I heard this question: Do you believe in Me or do you Believe Me?  That stopped me in the middle of my fretting party! It really is two different things. To believe there is a God is common to humankind.  As followers and Disciples of Christ Jesus we are called to step beyond believing in God to believing everything about Him and believing everything He says as true.  There I was sitting in the place of the man whose daughter was ill as recorded in Mark chapter 9:24. He said “Lord, I believe; help my unbelief!” Jesus had said to him in verse 23, “If you can believe, all things are possible to him who believes.”

Meditating on that for a bit, it became evident that the “fret-fest” about my personal challenges had taken over my thoughts and emotions causing my “belief-o-meter” to plummet. I certainly was NOT in the place of “all things are possible to him who believes” in regard to my life.  Fretting was where I was living and that had to change. Now please note that fretting is selective. If friends, fellow intercessors or my Pastor need prayer my faith is a mountain; no problem believing God for other folks! It’s the close to home stuff that is the challenge and the Lord is after that root of fear and unbelief in His chosen ones.

Fretting means to be devoured or consumed by anxiety and worry over problems perceived or real.  Some problems aren’t even a problem, we just think they are!  If left unattended, the worry and anxiousness begins to gnaw away at one’s mind and emotions resulting in an uneasy, distressed, anguished, complaining, grumbling, whining person.  Maybe none of you have lived in “fret-fest land,” but I suspect that the Lord put this on my heart to share because there are some of you living there right now and/or something is about to happen and this word will help you not go there!

In fact, I believe that many in the body of Christ are in a battle with fretting tendencies right now because Holy Spirit is bringing this rather hidden sin to the surface and making it glaring so we will deal with it.  We can’t go to the NEW THING He is doing with a bag full of frets.  He wants us free of that luggage and all of our fret-buttons healed so that He can use us in marvelous and exciting ways as intercessors and ministers of His Gospel of Truth.

Fretting has to go because it’s more than a minor worry. It is based in primal instincts of fear and self-preservation. Fear and self-preservation are natural and even good when there is immediate danger.  In fretting both turn to sin. One is doubt in God’s ability or willingness to help and the other is pride and trying to fix it ourselves.  To be victorious intercessors for ourselves and the powerful leaders and witnesses that are Ambassadors of Christ to our spheres of influence, this battle needs to be won by each of us. Fretting needs to be replaced with absolute 100 percent dependent upon God faith where our “belief-o-meter” explodes out the top.

But HOW, was my question to the Lord as He revealed this need of healing for my soul.  I heard in response: “Call unto Me and I will show you great and mighty things which you do not know,” Jeremiah 33:3 and “I am the author and finisher of your faith!” Hebrews 12:2.  The main thing was for me to admit that I was dealing with the revelation of a longtime hidden sin of fretting and repent for allowing that gnawing all-consuming worry to erode my ability to believe God.  I need to call upon Him to help me. So,  I thanked Him for revealing this thing, repented and received forgiveness. His forgiveness is amazing!  What seemed impossible to overcome became simple to me. If I ask Jesus for more faith, He will supply it. If I Believe HIM, I will receive because there is nothing too hard for Him.

So, take time with the Lord during this season of fretting revelation. Ask Him if some or maybe all of your challenges are being amplified because your soul is having a fret-fest.  Then get ready for a belief-o-meter explosion! He’s got mega-faith stored up for you so you can receive the mega-answers and breakthroughs He is ready to pour out of heaven!

May this season be one of most astounding reaping of all you have sown into the Kingdom of God!

With Joy

Cheryl

Authored by Rev Cheryl Birch
8-31-19
May be shared with author and date intact
Copyrighted 2019 Cheryl S. Birch
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